The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is taking up the call to center Black History Month programs on issues affecting Black families. It's hosting a series of recorded and Zoom discussions this month on a variety of topics designed for everyone, young and old.
Though centered around Black History Month, Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement Christopher Miller makes it clear, this isn't just a one-month-of-the-year topic.
"We definitely want to inspire and educate people that this history, although we have Black History Month, is a history that can be celebrated and discussed every day of the year, and hopefully integrated into the educational minds of the public 365 days of the year," says Miller.
The series begins Feb. 6 with a discussion of the musical piece You Have the Right to Remain Silent, with composer Anthony Davis and clarinetist Anthony McGill. McGill performed the work late last year with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. This discussion will focus on the importance of having a voice.
Next is a panel on the convergence between the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements and what should be done "to make America just and fair and how we should articulate those demands."
Then come the pair of presentations focused on family - one on representation and legacy and one on health, a very timely issue given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Miller says mental health is an important part of that discussion.
"We find that we are challenged - especially dealing with COVID-19, dealing with the continued social disparities that are being revealed during the pandemic. It does take a toll on your mental health," he says. "There are triggers and stress-related issues when we talk about systemic racism that impacts our physical health. This will be a conversation for the family, not only parents but children that might be confronted with health issues."
To that end, the panel will examine how children are dealing with the various ways they're attending school this year, be it online, in-person or hybrid learning.
"It's an opportunity for us to have a candid conversation about health, and then, too, how do you have these conversations within your family dynamic."
Several of the discussions will be live on Zoom. Others, as well as the archived live conversations, can be found on the Freedom Center's YouTube page.
The Reemergence of Protests and Marches in America
Feb. 8, Noon on Zoom. Registration details here.